After seeing countless threads over the years with fellow paintballers in distress due to problems to and from as well as during tourneys due to travel and theft, I decided to make this thread. If you have more tips, please post.
So you are traveling to a tourney. Obviously many players will fly to events such that in PSP or NPPL. Here are some tips to help.
1) Pay attention to TSA rules.
Pay attention to TSA rules before even arriving at the airport. Rules change constantly now days. A few years ago tanks were allowed in checked bags no problem now it's required to remove reg and even then it's problematic. Alwasys check the new TSA rules. When in doubt of any rules, contact your airline.
2) Mark your bags.
Your gearbag might look like someone else's. Mix ups happen. Odds are if you are flying into a major event like World Cup, there will be a lot of paintballers in the area. Clearly mark your bag with tags, tape or some other form of identification.
3) Purchase insurance.
If you are flying with gear, everything in that bag (including the bag itself) can easily add to a grand or more. This can easily get lost, ripped, torn. When something that expensive is not always under your direct supervision, insure it. It is a low fee, usually about $10. It's is a small price to pay vs having to buy all new gear.
4)Carry all personal items with you and have copies of items.
All ID's and such should always be on you. If a bag gets lost, it can be lost forever. Lose your wallet, it's a nightmare to replace everything (especially you foriegn guys) Keep your wallet(ID, credit cards, passport) with you at all times when traveling. Also make a copy of your ID and other documents and keep them in a safe place (or a family member or friend) in the event you do lose a wallet. This will be helpful when contacting companies/authorities in the event this does happen.
5) Have TSA approved locks on checked bags.
TSA can open these to do their searches for hazard items but it keeps others out. Small investment to help prevent theft in an airport. You never know.
So you made it to the event safely. Here are some tips on how to help prevent loss and theft.
1) Bring only what you need.
If you have check in to get an ID the day before, just take the stuff you need to get your ID. If you don't need your gun and gear then, then leave it at the hotel. Vice versa. If you are going to the event to play, don't take your passport and everything to the event. Many hotels have safes in the room or will happily lock it up behind their counter if asked. Take your ID, money (ideally cash ... a stolen credit card is bad news), and anything you need to get in and play. You can even keep your ID and card/cash in your paintball pants. Probably wont cause a break and you have it on you at all times.
2) Secure your gear.
Make sure it's locked in your car or always attended. Leave it unattended for a moment and it can get stolen. It's not a bad idea to rotate out team members/pit crew under equipment watch. This way gear is all in one area and under a watchful eye if others are needed to get paint/get food/potty.
3) Get insurance on your vehicle.
Just cause your car is locked, doesn't mean a thief won't steal your gear. Most insurance companies can offer insurance on things in your car as well as regular insurance. Call and inquire to your insurance agency. Explain you will be attending an event from this period of time and you want to purchase insurance for the time period. Once again, it's usually a low price and it's a small price to pay. Renting a car? Inquire about the insurance there or contact your personal insurance. Between the two, your stuff can get covered.
What to do if robbed:
So the worst thing happened, your precious gear was stolen. Here are things you should do to help recover your items.
1) Make a check list.
This is to be done before even traveling. Take inventory of all items, good descriptions as well as photos. Photos is proof that the item was in yours in most cases and can be used to help locate the items.
2) Record all information on items, including gun serial numbers.
To be done before hand. Most gun companies give items serial numbers to all their guns. This is for things like warranty information but can be useful in locating a lost or stolen marker. If lost or stolen, report the number to the company directly. A thief might actually send in a gun and I'm sure any company would like to help return a customer their product or at least aid in the process. If you are at a national event where that dealer is, report it to them directly as well as other gun dealers/resellers in the event (and even the local shop/field in the area)
3) Report immediately.
Contact the event staff. Contact the gun/gear dealers/sellers. Contact the police and file a police report. Even post here on PBN with information. Paintball is a small community and word travels fast. More eyes the better.
Remember the best ways to prevent theft or loss is to take all steps to prevent it. Don't give them a chance and if it does happen, be prepared for the worst.